After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


From our California Mission

Dear-in-Christ Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings on the beginning of the Nativity Lent!

We had conducted the Reading Service on Sunday, November 28, 2010 at our Community.  Attached please find the Epistle of Bishop Gregory of November 21, 2010 in both English and Russian that we read as the sermon.  The next Reading Service will be held on Sunday, December 5, 2010 (n.s.) at 10:00 AM at the same location.  If you are planning on visiting the Bay Area (or live here) please join us in our prayers.  Please also feel free to refer to us your friends who might be interested.  For more information please reply to this e-mail.  

Preparation Materials:
 Reading Services - 28th Sunday after Pentecost
 Sunday Tropar and Kondak - TONE 3
 Liturgy: Heb. 9:1-17; Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28

If you need English or Russian text of the Hours and/or Typica, please let us know, and we will be happy to forward it to you in advance.  

Thank you.
 In Christ,
 ~ROCA Mission in California
Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Community

Hackers At It Again

This time they've hacked into John Herbst's email - so they have his address, but this is not him.  Here is how they are tying to get money:

How are you doing? Sorry I didn't inform you I would be traveling to Spain for a Program, but my trip is so unfortunate. I'm presently in Madrid and I'm having some difficult situation here because I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where I'm staying. My money, and other valuable things were kept in it. I need you to do me a favour, please Lend me a soft Loan $2500, to sort out my hotel bills and other expenses here, then get myself back home. I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist with. I'll reimburse you on my return. let me know if you can be of any help as soon as possible. Please accept my apology for any inconvenience this request might cause you.


Update:  The account has now been recovered - nice fast work.  This happened to one of our members in Colorado last year and to Abbess Juliana -same kind of scam using the mailing lists trying to get money.


25-36 37th  St., Astoria, NY 11103

Divine Liturgy Saturday December 11th, starting at 10 a.m.

Father Macarius, and possibly Vladyka Andronik, will be serving.

As you may know, Vladyka Andronik spent 6 days in the hospital and is now recovering
 – he may serve with the permission of his doctor.
Please continue with your prayers for his complete recovery.

Please call or e-mail me should you need any more information.
Thank You.
Sub-deacon Ilarion Maharadze Marr
Home fone:  203.312.9595
E-mail address:  Ilarion.Marr@GMail.com
Cell fone:  203.482.0210 

Vladyka Andronik will be very pleased if we have a large turnout.

Epistle from Bishop Gregory in South America

Informational Epistle
To all the faithful members of the South American Diocese
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
who did not accept the Act to join with the Moscow Patriarchate

November 8/21, 2010
Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and St. Philaret of New York

Dear members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad!
Christ is with you!
             Recently, there has been more unpleasantness from representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) and the Synod of Metropolitan Hilarion, not only to the clergy, but also to the members of that part of the ROCA which did not agree to union with the MP.  It is being done with sophisticated slander, the spreading of lies and gossip, and the sly casting of poison and doubts into the hearts of the so-called “Rusexpatriates” and “fellow countrymen,” who, with a small exception, have little knowledge of the Church and easily accept everything as the truth.  These gossipmongers, raised in the Soviet Union and experts at propaganda, hope to entice and influence those loyal to the Church through these local Rusexpatriates, with whom they are acquainted or have contact, with the goal of tearing away as many people as possible from their rectors and parishes and attracting them to themselves.
             In their published statements, they call us schismatics, noting that all of our clergy has been forbidden to serve and that all mysteries performed by us are invalid.  Presenting historical facts of the last couple of years, they deliberately distort them and draw false conclusions for their own benefit.  One of their main accusations is Metropolitan Agafangel’s supposed disregard of the Synod Ukase which named him to the South American cathedra, which necessitated them to issue a Ukase of censure forbidding him to serve, and two years later, to be defrocked.  This is simply a complete lie, meant to deceive people!
             Indeed, in April, 2007, the Right Reverend Bishop Agafangel was handed a ukase from the Right Reverend Bishop Michael naming him to the South American cathedra, which he ACCEPTED and immediately notified all the clergy of that diocese.  They then began to commemorate him as their ruling diocesan bishop, after Metropolitan Laurus.  The fact that he did not move to South America is presented as proof that he did not comply with the ukase.  But our previous ruling bishop, Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of blessed memory, oversaw the South American diocese for several years while living in Los Angeles (USA).  This was not considered a violation or non-compliance of a ukase by anyone.
             On May 17, 2007, as we all know, the disgraceful betrayal of the Church Abroad occurred, orchestrated by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus, whom we all loved back then.  The Act which the MP considers to be HISTORICAL AND GLORIOUS is considered by us to be DISGRACEFUL, SORROWFUL AND INGLORIOUS, as it clearly undermined and destroyed the foundation of the Church Abroad, which had been worthy up to that point.  This event, as is well known, was a great temptation for many clergy and laypeople and led to discord and divisions among communities, parishes, and even among families.  Is it possible to consider this Act pleasing to God?  What does the Holy Scripture tell us of such seducers?  But for the MP that glorious day was one of victory, as they hoped that this way they would win over and eliminate that voice of conscience which had always rebuked them!  But…
             Bishop Agafangel did not accept the Act of union and on that day (May 17) left the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus.  Logically, from that moment on, all ukases and censures or anything issued from that Synod have no power or meaning not only for Bishop Agafangel personally, but for all those clergy and laypeople who followed him, or those who left the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus even earlier, endeavoring to remain true to those teachings, laws and traditions by which the Church Abroad lived for 80 years and thus allowing the voice of the TRUE, free and uncompromised Church Abroad to live on!
             It is essential to recall what occurred in February, 2008.  At the behest of the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Hilarion, accompanied by Archpriest Michael Boykov, arrived in Sao Paulo (they later went to Buenos Aires) to convince us to return to their Synod.  In one of the houses, in front of many witnesses, he stated that everyone should continue attending their churches, since Bishop Agafangel WAS NOT UNDER CENSURE!
             Besides, it is not that hard for a normal person to understand how invalid are the censures placed on Bishop Agafangel and all the clergy of the South American diocese.  Let us recall how Metropolitan Sergey (Stragorodskiy) issued an Ukase forbidding Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitskiy) and the all the clergy abroad from serving, because they had not accepted the previous Ukase to submit to the Soviet government, embodied in his Declaration of 1927.  And why did Metropolitan Anthony not acknowledge these ukases?  Because he had left Metropolitan Sergey and his Synod and therefore these ukases were not valid.  Otherwise there would not have been a Church Abroad.  As a result, all the bishops of the local Churches did not consider Metropolitan Anthony under censure, but as the head of the Church Abroad.  Of course, the MP still considered Metropolitan Anthony and all the CA clergy under censure right up to the time of the infamous Act of union.  So much so, that right up to the end Metropolitan Kirill (Gundyayev) himself still called us “karlovtsy schismatics.”
            It is understandable that these people are a nuisance for the MP, since they were unable to extinguish the voice of Truth completely, as in the dark years of Soviet atheism, and so they endeavor to wipe us off the face of the earth.  The Moscow Patriarchate was never interested in the souls of people, but only in fame, authority and power, which is why they were loyal to the atheistic, godless regime that was destroying the Church.  Unfortunately, to this day, this spirit still exists in the majority of its leaders.
             We always loved and will love Russia and the Russian people and never rejected them, never left them and never disdained them.  This is evident by how we preserved the language, the culture and most importantly the ORTHODOX FAITH for all these years.  So much so that it is actually purer than in the Soviet Union itself.  We always prayed and even pray now that the Churches unite and always lived with the hope of uniting the entire Russian Orthodox Church, which we expressed at the All-Diaspora Council in San Francisco.  But this must be done in the TRUTH OF CHRIST and not in lies, deception and compromises with unbelievers and heretics and apostates from Orthodoxy, which is what “World Orthodoxy” aspires to do now and in which the MP is an active participant.  It is they who are making use of the fruits which we sowed and nurtured, which belong to us and which they are now usurping and brazenly posing as its owners.  In spite of everything, we still love them like our own brothers.  We pray for them that the Lord may enlighten them and show them that we are not their enemies and that they leave us in peace, to allow us to pray, and not take our churches from us and not slander us.  Our Lord God will be the judge of us all!
             We call upon all our faithful parishioners and spiritual charges not to give in to false propaganda and hold fast to their faith and their spiritual leaders and may God’s blessing be with all of you!
+ Humble Gregory
Bishop of Sao Paulo and South America

Thank You, D.G. for this translation.

Joyous Feast Day of St. Philaret!

From Matins canon:
Come, with one accord let us honor in spiritual hymns a man who wept like a child for his Mother the Church; who with sorrowful letters summoned her pastors to the straight path, who called on the Holy Spirit to establish Her and who was consoled in the Lord. 


ROCA members may wish to be included on the mailing list of a weekly information email on the activity of our North American parishes and other of our organizations.  It is based on input from several parishes.
Contact John Herbst 

Royal Path VS. Rationalism

One way Western Thought is incompatible with Eastern Orthodoxy

An excerpt taken from A Man Is His Faith by Fr. Alexey Young

This book was published in 1980, and therefore we can be certain it was written under the influence and direct guidance of Fr. Seraphim Rose.  In truth, we "hear" Fr. Seraphim's "voice" between each and every line when reading this book.  The book is about Ivan Kireyevsky, a Russian philosopher who lived 100 years ago.  It traces how he came to realize the futility of western civilization, about the profound questions he raised concerning modern man, and especially about the way in which a true philosophy of life might be attained, to absorb the spirit of Orthodoxy, as did the Holy Fathers of the Church, as did Fr. Seraphim Rose.

The excerpt below is taken from Chapter 6, which chapter I intend to make available [eventually] on the StartingOnTheRoyalPath blog along with the introduction to the book, in the form of a book review.  In the meantime, I'm copying out this section for RemnantRocor blog.  -jh

Western thinkers suppose that the mind, if properly trained, exercised and sharpened, is alone capable of coming to a knowledge of the truth.  If one's premise is correct, westerners believe, and if strict logic is adhered to, then one's conclusions must be true.  This, Kireyevsky says is rationalism, the belief that reason alone, unaided by Divine Revelation, is the only valid basis for knowledge.

Rationalism is foreign to Orthodoxy because, first, through Adam's transgresssion, human nature is fallen, imperfect, and although not in itself evil, it is mixed with evil.

In his study of Saint Makarios, the Great Kontzevich wrote:

"The mind was originally pure, remaining in purity, reigning over his thoughts and was in a blessed condition, being covered with Divine glory ... Having fallen away from God in the transgression, man began to live a false life, a 'life of death.'"

Therefore, as Saint Paul says:  "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." [ICor.2:14]

Saint Isaac the Syrian explains that in this "natural" [i.e. fallen] state, unassisted man is capable of only the lowest kind of understanding, that which comes through the senses.  He can be fooled by that which is transitory and unreal.  He must ascend an inner ladder, one which is hidden in the soul, in order to achieve full knowledge of the truth.  He cannot do this without hard spiritual labour and the help of God.

Orthodox Christians "respect human reason as no one else, and they never violate it.  They regard it as one of the useful factors in detecting falsehood and uncovering error.  But they do not accept it is capable of giving man certainty, of enlightening him to see truth, or guiding him to knowledge ... Certainty is not a matter of intellectual harmony; it is a deep assurance of the heart ... The experience of knowledge is something which cannot be expressed in human words.  When the Apostle Paul came to know, he said that he had heard unspeakable words -- something which is impossible for man to express."46

Secondly, Kireyevsky points out that for Orthodox believers the mind is not an end in itself.  Rather, the goal of knowledge should be wisdom, and wisdom is not a series of abstract concepts, but a living Being, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life."  Here we have not an idea, but a Person who, as God, is Himself Wisdom, who has "given to us exceeding great and precious promised; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world." [IIPeter1:4]

Saint Nil the Ascetic expressed it this way:
"Many of the Greeks and not a few of the Jews undertook to reason philosophically but only Christ's disciples strove after true wisdom, for they alone had Wisdom itself as their teacher."

Since "the Word Himself ... was everything to Adam, before the fall, whether knowledge or experience, or inheritance or instruction," so also must He be for us, Orthodox Christians [Saint Makarios the Great].  In other words, let  us not think that our reasoning capacity can do for us what only God Himself can do; let us not worship rationalism.

But reason is different from rationalism.  Reason itself is the capacity for sound and sane thought, good judgment, discrimination.  Saint John Chrysostom says that just as birds are given wings in order that they might avoid snares, so was man given reason, "that they may avoid sin."   Therefore, reason can be a life-preserving tool so long as the darkness of rationalism does not pollute it.

Yet western man is trained from youth to exalt rationalism above all else.  This is why "a whole new world must be born in a westerner's heart in order for him to understand something* of Orthodoxy.  How can someone who has breathed the dry air of rationalism from the cradle and learned to worship human cleverness as an idol be humbled and become simple as a child?"47

*That "something" refers to the Royal Path. -jh

A Revolting Attempt to Profane a Sacred Event

To: Exarchate Faithful and Clergy
From: Bishop Auxentios

May God bless you.

The URL above (in Serbian) was sent to me this morning by the Secretary of the Holy Synod, His Grace, Bishop Klemes.

The "Serbian True Orthodox Church" blog on which it appeared, while it claims no jurisdictional sponsorship, contains links throughout to the True Orthodox Church of Greece under Metropolitan Kallinikos (G.O.C.), which maintains several parishes in Serbia, and various essays by Vladimir Moss, who is also an adherent of the G.O.C.(K) and whose views are very well known in Orthodox circles.

The video was taken at the banquet after the Feast Day of the parish of the Holy Archangel Michael in Toronto, at which I liturgized with Father Akakios, Abbot of our Monastery, the pastor of the parish, and a visiting clergyman from one of our other parishes in Canada this past Sunday.

The parish in Toronto, along with several Serbian parishes in Australia, recently left the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate, objecting to its increasing ecumenism. We have offered shelter and refuge to them, commending them for their fidelity to the Orthodox Faith and encouraging them to enter into resistance with firmness but also with a spirit of civility and moderation.

The video in question apparently fell into the hands of individuals who quite obviously, given its crude and insulting title, "The Dangers of Cyprianitism" (in reference to our ailing Metropolitan Cyprian) and its less than flattering comments and articles about our Church, had, if they were in fact present at the beautiful Liturgy, anything but moderate or civilized purposes in mind by being there.

The video centers on my greeting a number of visiting Serbian clergy who do not belong to our jurisdiction, but who were at the parish to greet the faithful on its Feast. They were all most respectful and showed a level of decent behavior that stands in sharp contrast to that of the individual or individuals who used the opportunity of the video to spew forth hateful comments about our Church on the aforementioned blog.

This video and, in my humble opinion, much of the material on the blog in question express an extremist view of Orthodoxy which is inconsistent with a sober resistance and the kind of quiet resistance that we conduct within the scope of the Canons of the Church and with every effort to avoid personal insults and the vulgar language about those whom we consider to be in error.

I find this uninvited intrusion into the internal life of one of our parishes by the blog in question to be inappropriate and sadly divisive.
Especially since the parish in Toronto is bring sued for its property, on account of its separation from the Serbian Patriarchate, such divisive tactics do little to further the cause of responsible Patristic resistance.

These extremist elements in the Church have done much to sow confusion, nastiness and a spirit of competition WITHIN the resistance movement that is simply counterproductive. They have also caused confusion among faithful already scandalized by the various ecumenical excesses and canonical violations that we resisters oppose. In the name of defending the Faith, they defile it.

It is no wonder that Metropolitan Kallistos, the former Oxford Lecturer, himself an ecumenist and a Hierarch of the Oecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, in commenting on the horrible confusion and division among the Greek Old Calendarists, wrote the following of us in an essay contained in the collection MINORITIES IN GREECE (London:Hurst & Company, 2002), by Professor Richard Clogg at St. Antony's College, Oxford:

Among the existing Old Calendarist jurisdictions, the one which continues most directly the tradition of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina [the founder of the Old Calendar movement in Greece - BA] is the group headed by Metropolitan Kyprianos of Oropos, with its centre at the Monastery of Fili [the Holy Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina] in Attica. Its dependency in North America, under Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, issues theological publications of solid value. The Fili group, which is affiliated with the ROCOR,* consistently refuses to condemn the sacraments of the New Calendarists as invalid. By contrast, most if not all of the other Old Calendarists...now adhere to the 'Matthewite' [referring to Bishop Matthew of Vresthene] standpoint, condemning the sacraments of the 'mainstream' Orthodox Churches as invalid and devoid of sanctifying Grace. Thus, the 'Matthewite' position, which initially was upheld by no more than a small minority of Palaioemerologitai, has gradually become the majority view (p. 17).

* [This was true until 2007, when the ROCOR, or the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, was reconciled with the Moscow Patriarchate and union between the two Synods was sadly severed, since our Bishops could not consider communion with the Moscow Patriarchate on account of its ecumenical stance and other serious problems.]
Certainly this was not written because we have special Grace or are "more Orthodox" than others. It was written because we try to maintain a balanced, intelligent, honest, and civilized position in the Church, hoping that our "walling off" from error will draw others into resistance. We work not to enhance our ranks or numbers or to elevate ourselves above those in error, but to provoke concern about the deviations in world Orthodoxy today, hoping one day to bring our errant brothers and sisters back into Holy Tradition and thus to a restoration of Orthodox unity in the Truth, which should be our greatest desire!

The aggressively crude and unsettling blog that chose to exploit the spiritual joy of our visit to our community in Toronto, trying to drag us into the ugly politics of extremism and divisive jurisdictional competition, has done, I am sure, nothing by this tactic, except to call into question the nature of its witness; to harm those who are confused by such resentful actions; and to bring a demonic element into what was a wonderfully spiritual event. We will simply continue our efforts, finding glory in the shame that these people try to bring on us and praying for their return to Christian charity, love, and a true witness to the Orthodox Faith.

Enough said. I suggest that our clergy and faithful, like us, avoid the poison of extremism and deadly zeal of the unwise kind. This is a poison that always transforms zealotry into jealousy and misdirects our duty to teach and to enlighten towards cheap and nasty words and silly name-calling. I am ashamed for those who apparently feel no shame at spreading such poison and spiritual death to others.

What Kind of Ecumenism Is This?


One of the persuading tenets of ecumenism is that we all have the same God.  This is a clever confusing of definition, because while truly everyone has the same Creator, not everyone has the same God or gods.  Most pagans even recognize that there is one higher god over their multiple lesser gods.  

Another persuading tenet of ecumenism is that no one religion has the complete picture or whole story.  A popular analogy in the 70's was this:

Picture a house with a circle of people surrounding it.  Ask the people on the west side, what color is the house?  Blue.  Ask the people on the south side?  Red.  Ask the people on the north side?  Yellow. Etc.  The lesson here is that we each see our side, but to have the whole picture we must "unite" with people who see the other sides.

We know there are different kinds of ecumenism.

St. Philaret [Metropolitan of New York] taught against this analogy that does not apply to us or our situation [ours is a different House].  He said that if we accept the idea that we all have just a part of the truth, then we are denying that Orthodoxy is the fullness of the Truth.  We do not have just a part of it - we have it all.  Ecumenism is an attack only against Orthodoxy.  There are different types of ecumenism and each one attacks Orthodoxy:  the ecumenism that says all religions are valid, the ecumenism that says all "Christianities" are valid, the ecumenism that says the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox are Sister Churches.

There is one more ecumenism, which I'm calling "jurisdictional ecumenism."  We see it quite clearly in world Orthodoxy with their false superficial "unity" of SCOBA and the newly revised version of SCOBA now in place.  What might not be so clear is that this same "jurisdictional ecumenism" which is in world Orthodoxy, is also starting in the "true" churches.  There are some who desire and labor to have such a false unity of the fragments.  This idea is born of logic and not born of Divine Truth.  Let them work away at this goal if they wish, but may we not unwittingly support their efforts.  The problem I see is when they try to include our ROCA among the fragments.   To accept the idea that we are one of the fragments, we have to deny that we are the sole valid continuation of ROCOR.

Let the fragments unite.  That might be a good thing.  They already agree on everything except who is going to be the head of them all.   More importantly, they alagree on what they deridingly call "cyprianism."

Let them unite with each other first before we consider uniting with them.

The old ROCOR used to be approached by the Greek fragments back in the old days.  Our decision was to let them unite with each other first before we would consider uniting with them.  This policy, in a sense, can be applied to how we think about the situation of the fragments today.   Let them unite with each other first.   Let them unite with their own with whom they have no differences, before uniting with us with whom they have tremendous difference.  Unless a fragment decides it is not "anti-cyprianite," it is not possible that they belong with us. 

I hope we can be firm in recognizing that we are very different from the fragments.  Not just because we are the sole valid continuation of ROCOR, not just because of our canonicity.  We are greatly set apart from the fragments by our Royal Path doctrine [what they deridingly call "cyprianism'].  This doctrine is not logical.  So, the logically-minded fragments will never accept it.  Praise God that this is so.  Because their rejection of our doctrine spares us temptation and protects us from that super-correct logic - "that outward rationalism  which outweighs the inward essence of things ..." [Kireyevsky]

The super-correct misunderstand "cyprianism".  And, more than that, it appears that they refuse to even try to understand.  Cut a branch off the vine, and existing fruit can still ripen.  What is so hard to understand about that?  They see everything only legalistically and pharisaically, and do not consider the "inward essence of things".

Goon Blog Alert


 We gave readers the first alert of this goon blog 9/30/2010.   A recent unpleasant thread of commentary on NFTU has confirmed that the clergy are involved with this anonymous goon blog.   The case is closed, we have made our determination.  Anyone interested in the evidence can see much of it *here*

The Crooks Are Still At It

And, any emails which come with the name, 'Igumeniya Iulianiya'

From: R.D.
Subject: FW: Warning About Abbess Juliana in Chile, and False Appeals, 'From her'-
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2010 11:19:50 -0700

Note about our heroic Mother Abbess Juliana, a true Orthodox Christian nun: Among her many illustrious accomplishments and her  life-long dedication to Christ and to the Church, most especially to the Russian Church Abroad in the Holy Land, the land of her birth, and to orphans and faithful in Chile,  and to her fellow suffering mankind, especially to pilgrims and helpless children, a life of self-less SERVICE, often under fire herself and persecuted for her righteous stand, she will always be a special hero, for her refusal to open the holy doors of the church of Hebron, to the KGB-agent, false -MP-'Patriarch', Alexis II, a theatrical devil in the clothes of an Orthodox Patriarch, for which she was severely and wrongfully punished. God Grant Her MANY YEARS!


Recently, she has warned me, to NOT accept as valid,  ANY email appeals signed with her name, and asking for either money, or for other personal information in order to be placed on her 'friends' list or whatever. Her email site has been hijacked some time ago,(though she told me, that she had thought that she had corrected that problem!), and apparently still may be under the partial control of crooks, who know her contact email list.
Her correct name & spelling is: Abbess JULIANA,-her only valid name!,(it was Never what the crooks use, "Igumeniya Iulianiya"!) and  abbjuliana@gmail.com (which is her ONLY valid email address).
The CROOKS recently sent an appeal, actually 2 or 3 appeals!  as if from her, with their San Diego, California return-email of: friends@yourfanbox.com  (Fanbox, 255 G. Street, Ste. 723, San Diego, California 92101), and also they ('she'),  offered to 'share photos', if one subscribed to their, 'her friends',  list. Which entails the subscribers first telling them a LOT of personal info about oneself!, to be listed as among 'her friends'. (the insinuation being: if one does not send this info, then one is NOT her friend-?).

SHE... told me, "I have no photos to share!, nor do I know how to put photos on the internet!, nor am I publically appealing for money!".

The sad fact is that she DOES need continued financial help from her real friends, (though she has told me, that SHE is notofficially requesting this aid), for her St. John of Kronstadt Orphanage, but.....how to make sure that such money actually gets to her, and not to the crooks? It also seems, that when one sends emails to this one VALID email of hers, that such emails may be DIVERTED to the crooks-?..or perhaps it may be more correct to say, that they MAY get copies of what emails are sent to her-??? 
Rd. Daniel in Oregon
P.S. Oh, the wonders of the modern internet! (?)

Nativity Fast Youth Retreat

With the Blessing of Archbishops Andronik and Chrysostomos
Nativity Fast Youth Retreat
Saint Nicholas convent
Constantia New York
Friday December 24 – Monday December 27
Speakers will include:
Fr. Gregory Williams, St. John of Kronstadt Community, Liberty, TN
Nativity in Haiti: The Work of the ROCA Mission in Haiti
Fr Daniel Meschter, St. Innocent Mission, Pottstown, PA
Celebrating Christmas on January 7 in America
Fr Nikita Grigoriev, St. Nikita Parish, Richfield Springs, New York
“So what’s so spiritual about secular music?”
Fr Nicholas Chernjavsky, Holy Ascension parish, Rochester, NY
"You don't drink at your friend's Christmas party???"
Mother Agapia, Convent of Saint Nicholas, Constantia, NY
Bethlehem at the time of Christ
Dr. Maria Khoury, St George’s Church, Taybeh, Palestine
Nativity in Bethlehem 2010
Cost: $40.00 per person
Accommodations rustic! Bring a sleeping bag! All are welcome to
help with cooking and cleaning!
Be prepared for outdoor winter activities. Weather permitting there
will be time for hiking/cross-country skiing and outdoor ice skating
Be prepared for Communion and be prepared to have a good time
with Orthodox friends (of your own religion :)!

Space is limited so sign up early! Deadline to sign up is December 15, 2010
(Those under age 18 need a medical waiver/parental release form)
R.S.V.P.: mother Agapia tel: 315-675-3178
Mia Daniels miadaniels@me.com

Nuevo Amigo Blog

New Friend Blog

It seems like this blogger has no bishop, but that he likes us.  Maybe he is considering coming to our ROCA?  May God grant it!

Collaboration or Cooptation?

this copy taken from here:
also available here:

Spiritual Security, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Foreign Ministry:
Collaboration or Cooptation?

Daniel P. Payne
Nov. 9, 2010


Upon the recent death of Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All Russia, Sergei Lavrov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry (RFM), stated, “It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of the Primate of the Church to strengthening the positions of our Fatherland in the world and enhancing the international prestige of Russia.”1  First and foremost, the signing of the 2007 Act of Canonical Communion of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) signaled “a new stage in [the Russian Foreign Ministry’s] efforts to consolidate the Russian world.”2  During the reign of Alexey II, especially during the Putin administration, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) expanded its role, uniting its mission with that of the RFM to secure the rights or “spiritual security” of the Russian diaspora as well as to reacquire property that had formerly belonged to the Russian Empire and had been lost during the Communist period.  Furthermore, the church by collaborating with the foreign ministry has signaled that the church is indeed united with the state in promoting a greater Russia through the spread of Russian Orthodox Christianity.

In this essay, I will examine the relationship between the ROC and the RFM.  In particular, I will focus on three roles that the ROC is providing.  First, along with Putin’s understanding of “spiritual security” the ROC, by consolidating its rule over the Russian diaspora, is expanding this concept outside of Russia proper.  Second, the relationship is providing the opportunity for the reacquisition of Russian property that was lost during the Communist period.  And third, through its relationship with the RFM the ROC has been able to expand the influence of the Russian government throughout the world.  The resurgence of Russia in world affairs has created tensions within the Orthodox world, especially in regards to Western Europe.  The concept of “canonical territory,” whereby it is determined who has spiritual oversight over the Orthodox people of a particular area, has become a controversial topic, especially between the ROC and the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) of Constantinople.3

Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Foreign Ministry, and the Spiritual Security of the Diaspora

The Concept of Spiritual Security 

In the 2000 National Security Concept, the Putin Administration stated,

Assurance of the Russian Federation’s national security also includes protecting the cultural and spiritual-moral legacy and the historical traditions and standards of public life, and preserving the cultural heritage of all Russia’s peoples.  There must be a state policy to maintain the population’s spiritual and moral welfare, prohibit the use of airtime to promote violence or base instincts, and counter the adverse impact of foreign religious organizations and missionaries.4

This spiritual understanding of national security saw its beginnings in the pursuit of the 1997 Law on Freedom of Conscience and on Religious Associations, which brought to an end the brief period of religious freedom that Russia experienced following the 1990 law on Freedom of Worship.  In November 1996, then Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad commented about the problem of proselytism facing the ROC.5  Once the 1990 law allowed for freedom of conscience, “hordes of missionaries dashed in, believing the former Soviet Union to be a vast missionary territory.”6  Instead of aiding the ROC in its missionary endeavors, these proselytizing groups worked against the church “like boxers in a ring with their pumped-up muscles, delivering blows.”  The blows were against the “people’s national and religious sentiments,” leading to a state where for many Russians, “‘non-Orthodox’ means those who have come to destroy the spiritual unity of the people and the Orthodox faith—spiritual colonizers who by fair means or foul try to tear the people away from their church.”7  In the eyes of the religious leaders of the ROC, Russia was losing its cultural identity as an Orthodox nation.  As Wallace Daniel and Christopher Marsh state, “Unless the government affirmed Russia’s traditional faiths against the aggressive actions of other religious groups and sects, the patriarch [Alexey II] maintained, the renewal of Russia’s own spiritual traditions stood little chance.”8  Therefore, in this atmosphere, where the ROC believed itself as well as Russian culture to be under attack, Boris Yeltsin passed the 1997 law, differentiating traditional and nontraditional religions in Russia.9
Additionally, the idea arose that these foreign missionaries were actually covert foreign intelligence workers, gathering information about “Russian policies and strategic activities.”10  The head of the religious studies faculty at the Russian Academy of State Service, Nikolai Trofimchuk, in 2001 argued in his book Expansiya that foreign missionaries, regardless of their intentions, “served the interests of the countries from which they came.”11  Therefore, more attention should be placed on the concept of “spiritual security” in the coming years.12  In order to emphasize the spiritual danger facing Russia, Putin, in the 2000 National Security Concept, “drew a tight connection between religion, culture and nationality and stressed its central role in Russian culture and social order.”13  In response to the recent enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Putin stated, “In the dialogue with other Sister-Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church has always defended and hopefully will continue to defend the national and spiritual identity of Russians.”14  Because Orthodoxy has been associated with Russian nationalism, that is, with Russian culture and heritage, as John Anderson states, “competitors (especially Catholics and ‘sects’) can be depicted as threats to the religion of the nation, and thus to the nation itself.”15
In March 2002 Patriarch Alexey II, in a low-key ceremony, consecrated a church at the Lubianka headquarters of the Federal Security Agency.16  According to Julie Elkner, instead of focusing on the past tensions between the security apparatus and the ROC, the ceremony had a different tone.  As Elkner states, “the ceremony focused on the need for concerted actions aimed at combating the current threats posed to Russia’s ‘spiritual security,’ as the Patriarch put it.”17  Certainly the patriarch was not alone in utilizing this concept.  Ideologues of the right and left have been utilizing the concept for the defense of Russian culture against the expansion of Western culture.  In 2003 Viktor Zorkal’tsev, Communist parliamentary deputy, defined spiritual security: “Freedom of conscience is only freedom when this is the freedom not only to believe, but to act.  However, freedom of conscience has boundaries.  And these boundaries can be defined by a single expression—spiritual security.  Spiritual security is, if you like, one of the conditions of a civil society.”18  This spiritual security, then, serves as the basis for protecting and uniting the Russian Orthodox people against threats to its spiritual and cultural well-being, especially by limiting the amount of freedom experienced in the civil society itself.

Spiritual Security and the Russian Diaspora

As stated earlier, Sergei Lavrov, head of the RFM, stated that the signing of the 2007 Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the ROCOR represents “a new stage in our efforts to consolidate the Russian World.”19  In September 2003, Putin met with Metropolitan Laurus in New York in order to discuss the possibility of the reunion of ROCOR with the ROC.20  As the Current Digest described the process, “The ROC, the ROCA and the Russian president are all pleased that the idea that a ‘superpower’ like our country should have a ‘superchurch’ is being advanced as the main argument in favor of reunification.”21  A year later, ROCOR called an All-Diaspora Council to discuss this possibility, and in June 2007 Metropolitan Laurus and Patriarch Alexey II co-celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Moscow, marking the end of the eighty-year schism.
While many celebrated the spiritual and ecclesiological significance of this reunion, others were skeptical of the political meaning behind the merger.  Yuri Zarakhovich, in an article for Time, stated that Putin’s aim was for the “take over” of ROCOR by the Moscow Patriarchate in order to “launch a new globalized Church as his state’s main ideological arm and a vital foreign policy instrument.”22  Indeed, “just as ROC congregations in other countries served as foreign intelligence centers in the 1970s,” remarked The Current Digest, “tomorrow the ROCA could become an outpost for Russian geopolitical aims.”23  Furthermore, Putin commented on the reunion as a part of the spiritual security of the Russian nation, “equat[ing] Russia’s ‘traditional confessions’ to its nuclear shield, both . . . being ‘components that strengthen Russian statehood’ and create necessary preconditions for internal and external security of the country.”24
In fact, the 2007 reunification, while being the largest and most important overture to the Russian diaspora by the Putin administration and the ROC, is not the only attempt at reuniting the Russian émigré communities throughout the world in order to expand Russian influence and protect emigrant Russians.25  As Patriarch Kirill states,

There are parishes and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church in many countries.  They not only unite Russians, but also the natives of other countries in the canonical space of the Moscow Patriarchate, specifically the citizens of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.  All those people find themselves drawn to the faith of their ancestors, their people, to Orthodoxy, when they land in foreign countries.  The Church communities seek to unite Orthodox Christians so that they can, together, get stronger in the faith, pray and partake of the Sacraments.  Moreover, our parishes fulfill a cultural mission.  They are an important link between their Motherland and the people living far away from their native country.26

The ROC and the RFM work together, according to Lavrov, for “standing up for the rights and liberties of Russian citizens and our compatriots living abroad.”27  He continues, “The Foreign Ministry of Russia actively helps communities of the Russian Diaspora, even to meet their spiritual needs.”  This includes the processes of building new churches and transferring lost properties back to Russian ownership.28  Patriarch Alexey II29 and Igor Ivanov, minister of the RFM, affirmed this joint mission of the ROC and the RFM. Ivanov placed “the protection of the interests of our citizens and compatriots abroad” with the idea of “reliable security.”30  According to Patriarch Kirill, this is the first priority of the joint diplomacy between the ROC and the RFM.31

In fact, at a joint conference between the ROC and the RFM held in April 2001, Kirill commented that the churches, especially built in Western Europe prior to the Communist period, were for the sustenance of the religious life of the Russian people living abroad.  Principally, the purpose of such churches, found in “Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Nice, Cannes, Biarritz, San Remo, Florence, Vienna, and Baden-Baden,” was to sustain the unification of the Russian people.  Such churches were built by the state under the guidance of the RFM and the ROC.32  As Kirill notes, however, these properties were lost during the Soviet period, simply because the state “abandoned all church property that had belonged to Russia.”33  But according to Sergei Hackel, the situation is much more complicated than simply the relinquishing of church property by the Soviet state.
In Western Europe, the issue of church property is tied to the fragmentation of the Russian diaspora following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian emigration during the 1920s.  In particular, Patriarch Tikhon issued a decree on May 5, 1922, “‘liquid[ating]’ its structures” under pressure from the Soviet government.34  Furthermore, many of the Russian parishes under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Evlogii Georgievskii of Paris left the ROC and came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1931, placing their properties under the control of Constantinople.35
Kirill insists that the properties do not properly belong to the church, but rather to the Russian state, since it was the state that built these edifices and then later relinquished them in a manner that could be construed as criminal.  As he stated at the 2001 conference, “As for the main objective of our interaction today, I believe it is above all to recover the property of Russia—not of the Russian Church.”36  He continues, “These churches—if they belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church and if there is indisputable legal evidence of that—should still belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.  But if they once belonged to Russia, they should belong to Russia.”37  In this vein, there have been several court cases regarding the status of church property in Western Europe, causing the splintering of entire congregations.  More will be said about this later in regards to the issue of canonical territory.
This pursuit of the reacquisition of Russian church property abroad is tied to the issue of spiritual security in that church leaders as well as politicians see this process as fundamental for the unification of the Russian people with the Motherland.  For instance, commenting on the transfer of the St. Nicholas Church in Bari, Italy, from the state of Italy to the ROC in April 2009, Kirill stated, “Today the Russian Orthodox Church face [sic] the need to guarantee external conditions for better reception of worshipers [in Bari] more than ever.”38  Upon receiving the keys to the church, President Medvedev stated that the transfer of property was a sign of the “deep connection between our cultures and people,”39 signifying the intimate relationship between the church and the state in its diplomatic mission.  Therefore, the ROC working together with the RFM promotes the spiritual security of the state through the care of Russian compatriots abroad through their unification, both spiritual as well as physical.  Additionally, the ROC and the RFM work together to promote “Russianness” by maintaining the union of the people with their homeland.
Moreover, the ROC and the RFM collaborate to protect the spiritual security of the Russian diaspora from non-Orthodox religions and especially from the spread of secularism.  Here we witness the paternalistic nature of the relationship between the ROC and the Russian diaspora.  As former Patriarch Alexey stated, “the main God-given principles of international relations are the perennial aspirations for peace, total commitment to religious/moral values, and the ardent wish to preserve traditions of faith at any cost.”40  Particularly, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is head of the Department of External Church Relations, has been an outspoken critic of the spread of “militant secularism” in Western Europe as a threat against faith traditions.  As Hilarion sees it, militant secularism is a pseudo-religion that is attempting to replace Christianity in Western Europe.41  According to Hilarion, militant secularism is one of “two ongoing conflicts, or battles, which will inevitably affect the mission and witness of the Orthodox Church” in the twenty-first century.42  He states,

In modern secular society Christian values are being more and more marginalized and God is being driven to the outskirts of human existence.  In many countries of the West it is now almost taken for granted that religion can operate only at the private level: you are free to believe in God or not, but this should in no way be manifested in your social life.  Churches and religious communities are tolerated so long as they do not trespass their own borders, so long as they refrain from publicly expressing opinions that differ from those consonant with “political correctness.”  Should they begin to express such opinions, they are readily accused of intolerance.43
Especially the traditional faith communities of Orthodoxy and Catholicism are under attack from this militant secularism.  It is the role of the Church, together with the RFM, to protect the interests of these communities in an increasingly secularizing Europe.  As Hilarion states,

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state—to divorce the Church from the social arena.  It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against liberal attitudes, the religious against the “common human” values, uniting those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.44

The second conflict facing the Church in Western Europe goes along with the first.  According to Hilarion, “There is now a deep-seated discrepancy between Christian communities, such as the Orthodox, that attempt to preserve the sacred Tradition of the ancient, undivided Church, and those, like many Reform communities, that have revised and continue to revise Tradition in conformity with secular standards.”45  As certain versions of Protestant Christianity have aligned themselves with militant secularism, they represent a threat to a common Christian witness against the secularism that is challenging traditional Christian values and practice.  Pressure is placed upon traditional Christianity to likewise assimilate and accept these values which are foreign to its ethos.46  According to Hilarion, what is at stake in this battle over secularism is the “survival of Christian civilization and of those peoples who until recently identified themselves with Christianity.”47  The ROC is caught in a battle over the soul of Europe, which includes its own people living in diaspora.

The Expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Issue of Canonical Territory

In April 2003, Patriarch Alexey issued a communiqué to the hierarchs of Russian tradition in Western Europe calling for the possibility of a union of these churches—ROCOR, the Western Exarchate under Constantinople, and the diocese of Western and Central Europe under Moscow—under the jurisdiction of the ROC.  According to Alexey’s intentions, the unified church would have autonomous status, yet be sponsored by the ROC in the formational process.48  According to the communiqué, the problem that needed to be addressed was the “sundered parts of the Russian Church” and the needs of the “Church life of our compatriots in the diaspora.49  Yet, as Sergei Hackel points out, this idea of the unification of the churches of Russian tradition under the auspices of the ROC was a continuation of proposals that had been promulgated in 1975 and 1976 to do the same, yet in “beguiling terms.”  According to Hackel, “the patriarchate had not forgotten its imperialist dreams of years gone by.”50  By invoking the term “Russian tradition,” did Alexey simply infer that he was concerned only with uniting Russian churches under his omophorion?  Or was he concerned about uniting all Orthodox Christians in Western Europe under the jurisdiction of the ROC?  It seems that the patriarch was concerned more about the former than the latter, for the consolidation of the Russian diaspora under the tutelage of the ROC, claiming that such churches are under the “canonical territory” of the Church.51
As I have argued elsewhere, the ROC and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are in a war for souls concerning the issue of canonical territory.52  Especially, this conflict involves the churches of Estonia and Ukraine.  However, in 2006, a conflict emerged concerning the Diocese of Sourozh in England in regards to the communiqué for church unification in Western Europe.
The Western Exarchate under Constantinople and the Diocese of Sourozh, which is under the authority of the ROC, developed their own indigenous Orthodox traditions in their respective countries, no longer understanding themselves to be diaspora churches.53  Additionally, these churches have assimilated to the countries in which they find themselves.  As Xenia Dennen, chairman of the Keston Institute, writes, the conflict between the ROC and the Sourozh Diocese was “between an ‘open’ type of Orthodoxy, open to the culture around it, concerned with exploring the faith, unafraid of ‘the other,’ as opposed to one that is ‘closed,’ defensive, and focused on power and control.”54  Philip Walters also notes the “out-going and inclusivist” nature of Sourozh compared with the “mood in the Orthodox Church in Russia [which] has been increasingly inward-looking and exclusivist.”55
The problem emerged due to the enormous influx of Russian émigrés to Western Europe and England during and following the years of perestroika.  At first, the influx simply created a pastoral problem for the churches because they had assimilated to the culture of their respective countries, using the language of the indigenous peoples as is customary in Orthodoxy.  However, the pastoral issue became political due to the complaints of Russian émigrés to the ROC concerning their lack of pastoral care.  Particularly, the Diocese of Sourozh, under the leadership of Metropolitan Antony Bloom, did not understand itself to be “a vehicle for preserving Russian national identity.”56  Instead, it was to be a center of Orthodoxy for all people regardless of nationality.  According to Dennen, this ecclesial culture ran afoul of the vision of the ROC.  She writes, “This principle of acculturation was by implication condemned by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk when, in a statement on 24 October 2006, he said that the Russian Orthodox Church should, on the contrary, seek to prevent assimilation and to preserve a separate cultural and religious identity for Russians abroad.”57  In the eyes of the ROC, the Diocese of Sourozh had become an embarrassment.  Protodeacon Peter Scorer, formerly of the Diocese of Sourozh, in an interview with Radio Liberty, stated,

Thanks to the labours of Metropolitan Anthony, Sourozh was a diocese unique in the entire Moscow Patriarchate. [. . .]  Now this free, sobornaya (communal) diocese, unlike any other within the Russian context, has become an embarrassment for Russia.  They would like to see them “all of a kind,” so that the churches abroad, which are being built in many countries, would be something like the embassy churches before the revolution.  They are representations of Moscow abroad, and are controlled not by their local bishops, but by the DECR [Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate].58
In April 2006 Bishop Basil of Sergievo, the successor to Metropolitan Antony, after coming under attack for the openness of the diocese and its refusal to kow-tow to the ROC authorities, requested to be released from Patriarch Alexey and the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate so that he could then seek to be placed under the authority of Constantinople.  In response to his request, Alexey retired him, removing him as the overseer of the Sourozh Diocese.  Consequently, Basil requested from Constantinople to be placed under its authority, which was granted on June 8, 2006, creating a separate diocese in the British Isles under the authority of the Western Exarchate in Paris.59
It appears that part of the issue regarding the conflict in the Sourozh Diocese was the degree to which this church had developed its own traditions, especially ones that were considered to be out of keeping with traditional Russian Orthodox Christianity.  In a commentary written concerning the conflict, Fr. Andrew Phillips RocorMP] of the Cathedral of the Dormition in London argued that it was precisely the acceptance of “modernism” and its rejection of traditional Russian Christianity that created the conflict.  According to Fr. Andrew,

The split is between those who wish to practice the Russian Orthodox Faith, regardless of their nationality or preferred language of worship or even beloved saints, and those who, quite simply, do not love the Russian Orthodox Tradition.  The latter want to combine contemporary Western humanism with a form of Russian Orthodoxy.  It does not work.  Thus, at present they refuse the discipline of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, as it is now rapidly being restored after three generations of militant atheism, just as they refused in the past the discipline of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).60
For Fr. Andrew, this modernism had affected the Paris Exarchate during the 1920s with the acceptance of the teaching of Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, which was deemed heretical by the ROC and ROCOR.61  Thus, not only is the issue regarding the Diocese of Sourozh and the Western Exarchate in Paris associated with the spread of Russian nationalism, it also pertains to the issue of spiritual security with the ROC attempting to consolidate its own influence against that of renovationism and secularism.
However, the creation of multiple ecclesiastical jurisdictions in Western Europe, which the ROC on the one hand is attempting to prevent by uniting the Russian churches under its authority but which de facto is occurring through the expansion of the Russian church into the territories that belong to these other churches, creates a problem regarding “canonical territory.”  According to Inna Naletova, “The church seeks to assist the state in ‘reuniting’ the former empire in the so-called ‘canonical territory’ of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Such a ‘reunion’ is based on the idea of common faith of persons of many nationalities and on the common canonical structure centered around Moscow and covering the entire territory of the former Soviet Union.”62  However, as Alex Agadjanian and Kathy Rousselet demonstrate, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the identification of Orthodoxy with Russianness, “canonical territory” took on a transnational character.63  No longer was it limited to the territory of the former Soviet Union or even the Russian Empire; rather it was tied to the very idea of Russian identity.  Thus, wherever there are Russians in the world, the ROC makes the claim that they are part of its jurisdiction.64
This creates a violation of Orthodox canon law, which stipulates that there can be only one church in one locale.  The establishment of multiple churches in a single territory goes against the ecclesiological basis of the Orthodox Church, where there is to be only one bishop celebrating the Eucharist in each city or diocese.  When approached by the ROC to reunite with the mother church, the Western Exarchate in Paris cited that it had already become a “local and multinational Church, situated indeed since the emigration outside the territorial and canonical boundaries of any autocephalous Church, including the Patriarchate of Moscow.”65  By introducing a Russian Church in the territory of the Western Exarchate, the ROC was violating the canonical territory of the Western Exarchate.  As the Archdiocese of the Western Exarchate stated,

For us, as for our predecessors, the overlapping of jurisdictions on the same territory can never be justified because it directly contradicts territorial ecclesiology (notably that derived from the 34th Canon of the Holy Apostles).  Equally unjustifiable is the demand by various autocephalous Churches, for direct obedience from their nationals, scattered across the countries of western Europe as in every other part of the world.  This direct obedience can only succeed in reinforcing the overlapping of jurisdictions.  The present situation is only a phase resulting from our history; it must be replaced by arrangement agreed with the dioceses of the other Patriarchates represented in our countries.  For these ecclesiological reasons the proposal of the Patriarchate of Moscow is inappropriate.  When a unified local Church is established in our country, it will be done out of scrupulous regard for the canons, especially the territorial definition of the Church.  As it is, the Patriarchate of Moscow has no more jurisdiction in our countries than the other territorial Churches.66
Consequently, the ROC has not changed its position regarding canonical territory.  In fact, it has continued a process of expanding its jurisdiction into other territories, establishing churches with the aid of the RFM.  Such examples as Pyongyang, Havana, Beijing, Hong Kong, Angola, Mar del Plata (Argentina), Quito, Caracas, Rome, and Singapore have or will have churches built in the near future expanding Russian Orthodox influence throughout the world.  Many of these churches will serve as a means of cultural and political dialogue between Russia and the host nation.  Furthermore, such expansion challenges the EP as the voice of world Orthodoxy.67  By expanding into territories, which the EP claims under Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, multiple overlapping jurisdictions are being established throughout the world.  It is to be noted that the ROC does not accept the EP’s interpretation of Canon 28, which gives jurisdiction over the “barbarian lands” to the bishop of Constantinople.  While this is certainly an inter-Orthodox ecclesiological debate, what makes this more problematic is the relationship that the ROC has with the Russian state.


In an interview with RIA Novosti, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, stated in regards to the Russian relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean,

The Foreign Ministry and Russian diplomatic missions in the countries of the region give priority attention to the deepening of interaction with compatriots, and comprehensively help the consolidation of the diaspora and its organizations and the expansion of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church. . . . We will continue to work for the fullest possible unfolding of the rich creative potential of the Russian World uniting us.68
As I have argued throughout this essay, the ROC has collaborated with the RFM for the purposes of expanding and consolidating the Russian world. Together, in the name of spiritual security, they have done this through attempts to reunite with the other churches of Russian tradition that exist in the Russian diaspora and through the reacquisition of Russian church property that had been lost during the Soviet period. They have met with some success in their endeavor—especially to be mentioned is the reunion of the ROC with ROCOR. Consequently, the expansion of the ROC’s canonical territory has led to conflicts involving some of these churches, especially in Western Europe.
While the stated purpose of the work of the ROC and the RFM has been the spiritual care for their compatriots abroad, there is the appearance that something more is at stake, the expansion of Russian influence. Due to its favored position with the state, the ROC is expanding transnationally, both in influence and territory. Moreover, this relationship holds equal potential for the state. In order to be a world superpower once again, Russia needs an instrument that will serve as the unifying cultural factor in its self identity. That instrument is the ROC.

1. Sergey Lavrov, “The Message of Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Over the Death of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia,” available online at http://www. mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f128a7b43256999005bcbb3/e99d01ee8637c3 d6c3 257523003f9f6d?OpenDocument.
2. “Diplomacy Needs a Moral Foundation,” Diplomat 173, no. 9 (2008): 5.
3. See Daniel P. Payne, “Nationalism and the Local Church: The Source of Ecclesiastical Conflict in the Orthodox Commonwealth,” Nationalities Papers 35 (2007): 831–52; Alexander Agadjanian and Kathy Rousselet, “Globalization and Identity Discourse in Russian Orthodoxy,” in Eastern Orthodoxy in a Global Age: Tradition Faces the Twenty-first Century, ed. Victor Roudometof, Alexander Agadjanian, and Jerry Pankhurst (Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2005), 29–57; Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev, “La notion du territoire canonique dans la tradition Orthodoxe,” given at the International Symposium of Canon Law at the Catholic Theological Academy of Budapest, February 7, 2005; available at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_12.
4. “2000 Russian National Security Concept,” available at http://www. russiaeurope.mid.ru/russiastrat2000.html. 
5. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, “Gospel and Culture,” in Proselytism and Orthodoxy in Russia: The New War for Souls, ed. John Witte, Jr., and Michael Bourdeaux, 66–76 (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1999).
6. Ibid., 73. 
7. Ibid., 73–74. 
8. Wallace Daniel and Christopher Marsh, “Russia’s 1997 Law on Freedom of Conscience in Context and Retrospect,” in Perspectives on Church-State Relations in Russia, ed. Wallace L. Daniel, Peter L. Berger, and Christopher Marsh, 29 (Waco: J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, 2008). 
9. Ibid. 
10. John Anderson, “Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church: Asymmetric Symphonia?” Journal of International Affairs 61, no. 1 (2007): 194.
11. Ibid. 
12. Ibid. 
13. Inna Naletova, Perspective 12, no. 3 (2002); available at http://www.bu.edu/ iscip/vol12/Naletova.html. 
14. “Russian Orthodox Church to work for Russian identity—Putin,” Interfax, February 3, 2009; available at http://www.interfax-religion.com. 
15. Anderson, “Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church,” 195. 
16. “FSB Gets Its Own Place to Worship, ”Moscow Times, March 7, 2002; available at http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/938/49/247959.htm; Julie Elkner, “Spiritual Security in Putin’s Russia,” available at http://historyandpolicy.org/papers/policy-paper-26.html. 
17. Elkner, “Spiritual Security.”
18. Ibid. 
19. See note 2. 
20. According to Irina Papkova, ROCOR had been discussing this possibility internally for the past fifteen years. Personal communication with Irina Papkova. 
21. “The Strength and Weakness of Orthodoxy,” The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press 55, no. 51 (January 21, 2004): 19–20. 
22. Yuri Zarakhovich, “Putin’s Reunited Russian Church,” Time.com, May 17, 2007; available at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1622544,00. html. 
23. “The Strength and Weakness of Orthodoxy,” 20.
24. Ibid. 
25. Nadia Kizenko, “Houses of Worship: Church Merger, Putin’s Acquisition,” Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2007; available at http://online.wsj.com/article/ SB118006040893914329.html?mod=Letters. 
26. “Church Diplomacy Is Not Just a Matter of Inter-Church Relations,” Diplomat 173, no. 9 (2008): 14. 
27. “Diplomacy Needs a Moral Foundation,” 5. 
28. Ibid., 7. 
29. “Live Peacefully with All Men,” Diplomat 173, no. 9 (2008): 9. 
30. Igor Ivanov, “Formation of New Russian Policy Completed,” International Affairs (Moscow) 47, no. 4 (2001): 3. 
31. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, “The Foreign Service of the Russian Orthodox Church,” International Affairs (Moscow) 48 no. 4 (2002): 147.
32. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, “Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Diplomacy: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” International Affairs (Moscow) 47, no. 4 (2001): 158. 
33. Ibid., 159.
34. Sergei Hackel, “Diaspora Problems of the Russian Emigration,” Eastern Christianity, ed. Michael Angold, Cambridge Histories Online (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 545; available at http://histories.cambridge.org/ extract?id=chol9780521811132A023.
35. Ibid., 543. 
36. Kirill, “Cooperation,” 159. 
37. Ibid., 160.
38. “Patriarch Kirill Thankful to Russian, Italy Authorities for Transfer of Bari Church,” Interfax March 2, 2009; available at http://www.interfax-religion.com. 
39. “Transfer of Bari Church to Russia Is Historic Event—Medvedev,” Interfax March 2, 2009; available at http://www.interfax-religion.com.
40. Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and all Russia, “Religion and Diplomacy,” International Affairs (Moscow) 47, no. 4 (2001): 150. 41. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, “Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism,” available at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11.
42. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, “Orthodox Mission in the 21st Century,” available at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_22.
43. Ibid. 
44. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk,“Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism.” 
45. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, “Orthodox Mission in the 21st Century.” 
46. See Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad,“The Orthodox Church in the Face of World Integration,” The Ecumenical Review 53, no 4 (2001): 479 – 84.
47. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, “Orthodox Mission in the 21st Century.” 
48. Hackel, “Diaspora Problems of the Russian Emigration,” 550. 
49. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis,“Europe and Its Future,”available at http://www.orthodox-christian-comment.co.uk/news-futureofrussianparishesinwesterneurope.htm.
50. Hackel, “Diaspora Problems of the Russian Emigration,” 550. 
51. See Agadjanian and Rousselet, “Globalization and Identity Discourse in Russian Orthodoxy,” for the contemporary use of this idea and its correspondence with Russian identity. 
52. See Payne, “Nationalism and the Local Church.”
53. “Declaration of the Council of the Archdiocese,” available at http://www. exarchat.org/article.php3?id_article=557. 
54. Xenia Dennen, “Russian Orthodoxy in Great Britain: Death Knell or Growing Pains,” Humanitas (2007): 62.
55. Philip Walters, “The Power Struggle in Orthodoxy,” Church Times, May 26, 2006; available at http://www.churchtimes.co.uk, accessed August 5, 2006. See also Philip Walters, “Turning Outwards or Turning Inwards? The Russian Orthodox Church Challenged by Fundamentalism,” Nationalities Papers 35, no. 5 (November 2007): 853–80.
56. Dennen, “Russian Orthodoxy in Great Britain,” 64. 
57. Ibid.
58. Quoted in Dennen, “Russian Orthodoxy in Great Britain,” 68. 
59. Ibid., 66–67. 
60. Andrew Phillips, “Sourozh: Russian traditions without the Russian Orthodox Faith,” available at http://www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co.uk/ sourozh1.htm.
61. Andrew Phillips, “The Time-Bomb That Went Off: Happier Prospects after the Sourozh Schism,” available at http://www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co. uk/timebomb.htm. 
62. Naletova, Perspective 12, no. 3 (2002); available at http://www.bu.edu/iscip/ vol12/Naletova.html.
63. Agadjanian and Rousselet, “Globalization and Identity Discourse in Russian Orthodoxy,” 40–41. 
64. A recent exception to this occurred in the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia. The Russian state desired that the ROC cooperate with the state in claiming canonical territory over the Russians of South Ossetia. However, the ROC chose to go against the Russian state and continued to recognize the traditional canonical territory of the Orthodox Church of Georgia over the territory of South Ossetia. This has actually caused some tension between the ROC and the RFM. See Paul Goble, “Moscow Patriarchate Losing Privileged Status as Russia’s Religious Representative Abroad,” available at http:// politicom.moldova.org/news/moscow-patriarchate-losing-privileged-status-as-russias-religious-representative-abroad-162266-eng.html; see also “Church Altars Are not Political Tribunes,” available at http://www.georgiatimes.info/ ?lang=en&area=interviewItem&id=10315&path=interview.
65. “Declaration of the Council.” 
66. Ibid. 
67. While the Orthodox churches do not have a single world leader as the Roman Catholic Church, the ecumenical patriarch has traditionally been viewed as the “first among equals” of the various local churches. Today, many observers note the tension between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate over the issue of who has the authority to speak for the world Orthodox community.
68. “Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Interview with RIA Novosti on Russian Relations with the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean Basin,” available at http://www.ln.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f 128a7b43256999005bcbb3/40dff6a7982643e5c3257523003f9f19?Open Document.

DANIEL P. PAYNE (BA, Bethany College; MDiv, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology; PhD, Baylor University) is a senior research fellow, J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor University, and an associate priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas. He is the author of The Revival of Political Hesychasm in Contemporary Orthodox Thought (forthcoming). His articles have appeared in Religion, State and Society, Nationalities Papers, Sobornost’, Faith and Economics, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, BYU Law Review, Stranitsy, and Synaxis. Special interests include Orthodox political theology, Orthodoxy and nationalism, and civil religion.